In what is some rare good news for drought-affected Upper Hunter, more than 4,600 pests have been culled.
For the past three weeks, Hunter Local Land Service's Feral Animal Aerial Shooting Team (FAAST) have been targeting areas between Merriwa and Cassilis and Murrurundi to the edge of the Barrington Tops targeting pigs, deer, foxes, goats and wild dogs.
The dry conditions have brought the animals out of hiding straight into the sites of the FAAST as they hunt for water and food.
In total 2,285 pigs, 2,297 deer, 38 goats, 20 foxes, and seven wild dogs were controlled during the program.
Biosecurity Team Leader Luke Booth said the FAAST program will benefit local farms and native species, struggling with the unrelenting drought.
“Feral pigs pose the most significant biosecurity risk to agriculture in New South Wales,”
“Not only do they carry endemic parasites and diseases that can affect both humans and other livestock, they cause significant damage to pastures, crops and native vegetation."
“The lack of water and feed means many pest species are coming closer to farms, searching for available resources, which is adding to the pressure already being felt by local landholders,” said Luke Booth.
There are control programs scheduled for later this year as well in areas where pest species populations could be booming.
Landholders who aren't participating in the program are being encouraged to do so by getting in touch with their local biosecurity officers.
Please report all wild dog sightings or pest animal problems to your nearest Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer:
Paterson: Luke Booth 0408 681 576
Maitland: Kyra O-Brien 0427 492958
Singleton: Matt Kennedy 0428 686 178
Scone: Richard Ali 0429 722 944
Scone: Jonathan Randle 0429 342 995
Wingham: Laurie Mullen 0407 785 007
Wingham: Peter Fotheringham 0409034557
Image credit: Hunter Local Land Services